Cumberland County superintendent orders inquiry into bullying video


FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A viral video that purports to show a bullying incident outside a Fayetteville middle school has caught the attention of the county’s schools superintendent, who said he wants answers.

RELATED: Mom posts Fayetteville bullying incident on Facebook

Wednesday, school officials had refused to comment, but Thursday the superintendent said he has ordered an investigation.

“I was shown the video, and I have staff now working with the school to find out more about it and if policies were violated,” said Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Frank Till. “It’s in the process of being looked at with the school, and our associate superintendent in charge of schools.”

The video appears to show 13-year-old Chris Skarezyski being bullied by a 13-year-old girl. The video also has other parents concerned.

Sgt. Sean Swain with Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said a juvenile petition has been filed in the incident.

A Juvenile petition is similar to an adult complaint for a court date. That means the 13-year-old girl seen in the video will have to go to court and if the judge finds she’s guilty.

She could also face some sort of disciplinary action.

“It shouldn’t have happened at all,” said parent Anthony Thompson.

But the superintendent says that although what happened was inappropriate, he needs to know if there’s another side to the story.

“You have to go further than that video to determine if there’s another justification,” he said.

Meanwhile Skarezyski’s mom wants the system to concentrate more on bullying..

“I want to see the school take more action against bullying, have classes on bullying,” said Alice Phillips, Skarezyski’s mother.

Till says the system already has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to bullying which is reinforced through various actions.

“We want people to apply our code of conduct and do counseling and suspension or whatever it takes to say it’s not tolerable,” he said. “There’s no excuse.”

The school system also offers an anonymous hotline for those experiencing bullying. You can call (931) 244-1055 or read more here.

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